On April 3, President Putin delivered his annual message to the two chambers of the Russian parliament. Among his statements on the subject of the war in Chechnya were the following: “Having accomplished its basic tasks, the army is leaving the [Chechen] republic. This is a serious result, but it has been achieved at a high price. And so today, breaking with the tradition of such annual reports, I think it appropriate to remember our soldiers, the Dagestani home guard, and the [pro-Moscow] Chechen police, all those who, at the cost of their lives, stopped the break-up of the [Russian] state…. I ask that all of you present in this hall and also listening to and watching us stand and honor the memory of our heroes with a moment of silence” (Strana.ru, April 3).
In comments made to Obshchaya Gazeta concerning Putin’s address, President Ruslan Aushev of Ingushetia observed: “I was troubled only when Putin, in proposing to honor with a minute of silence Russian soldiers and Chechen police, did not mention the losses incurred by the civilian populace of Chechnya. But not taking such losses into account is in the order of things” (Obshchaya gazeta, no. 14, April 5).